Thanks to a change of hands between the Cham, Khmer and Vietnamese, this bustling border town on the banks of the Bassac River is a rich mix of ethnicities and religions. It is a busy trading port and famous for the high quality fish sauce and catfish. Tourism is also on the rise. If you’re ready to explore more temples, you’ve come to the right place.
For a change of scenery, visit the Chau Giang Mosque that serves the local Cham Muslims. At the many floating houses and fish farms, you can see Vietnam’s fishing industry up close and splashing. There are many markets touting all of the local goods along with Cambodian imports, ensuring that you will never leave empty handed.
Located in the Mekong Delta, Chau Doc is the closest large town to the Vietnamese/ Cambodian border crossing on the Mekong River. Well-known for its religious life and long, legend filled history leaving its mark with many of the area’s most significant ancient buildings still standing today including Tay An Ancient Pagoda, Thoai Ngoc Hau Mausoleum, Lady Chua Xu Temple. It is very convenient to pass through here for its transportation connections due to siting at the junction of a tributary linking the Bassac and Mekong Rivers. An incredibly friendly and bustling little city, it has a color scheme to match its ambience, with bright pastel hues of green, blue and purple adorning many of the newer shop fronts.
Lady Chua Xu Temple is considered the area’s holiest site with millions of visits each year, while Tay An Pagoda is renowned for its stunning design, its distinctive three storey shape rising from the majestic Sam Mountain. The temple meanwhile is the best known for the myth that surrounds it. Over two hundreds years ago, Sam Mountain was said to be covered with many wild animals. With influence from Chinese, Vietnamese and Khmer cultures, Sam Mountain is renowned for its traditional pagodas secluded in caves and is the site where devout local Buddhists make their annual pilgrimage. Lady Chua Xu built in 1820, Tay An Co Tu built in 1847 and Thoai Ngoc Hau Mausoleum dated from 1930. These key locations will be the base of the introduction to Buddhism, Hinduism and worship to Ancestors. Have the opportunities to get to know how these 3 confessions bringing to Vietnam and how they impact the daily life of the Vietnamese. Today, about 80% of the population worships a mixture of Buddhism and cult to ancestors, while Hinduism is still present in some temples and pagodas as a remainder of the Champa Kingdom.
Travel like a local along the Mekong River on a traditional sampan, and be mesmerized by the special bond between the people and the River. Discover the fascinating floating market with boats selling various Mekong fruits and vegetables; have a unique insight into the lifestyle of the sellers and understand the contribution that this type of retail makes to cultural exchanges as well as to the waterways economic development. Muslim Cham Village, The Cham are remnants of the Kingdom of Champa, an empire that used to stretch from Hue to provinces in the Southern Mekong Delta from the 7th to 18th century. Discover the traditional Cham stilt homes as well as a local mosque to allow you to familiarize yourself with the customs and habits of this minority. Explore the river life through visits to floating fish farms and local houses. In the floating village, see fishermen at work and immerse yourself in the Vinh Te Canal that stretches 87 km from Chau Doc to the South China Sea. The construction of the canal was completed in 1824 and involved about 80,000 local Vietnamese and Cambodian workers. The canal plays an important role in southern Vietnam's communication and transportation whilst also defining the border of Vietnam and Cambodia.
The Tra Su Nature Reserve is an ecological haven which has become one of the most popular sites in the Mekong Delta! It is the habitat of many unique water birds, colonies of bats and various rare animal and bird species. View the abundance of flora and fauna with over 106 water bird species and 140 specified floral varieties, representing the second largest number of plant species in the Mekong Delta region. Turtles, snakes and other reptiles and freshwater fish can also be found in the meandering canals. Tra Su forest is a national reserve which covers about 845 hectares, and is best visited from July to December, as the bird colonies gather in the reserve to breed. At this time of the year, large areas of the forest are flooded and visitors are invited to explore the area by motorboat. Armed with binoculars and a birds’ directory, your guide will help you witness this unique ecological spot through the eyes of an expert. The green trees, vibrant colors and dark water along with the deep voice of birds in harmony with nature makes a trip to Tra Su a truly unforgettable experience in the region. Visit a Khmer Village and familiarize with the local techniques of palm sugar producing. Palm trees are very important to the Cambodian minority in the southern province of An Giang, as they provide various production opportunities through the usage of the stem, leaf, trunk and flowers creating the palm juice and sugar.
Chau Doc is also the closest large town to the Vietnamese/Cambodian river border crossing. It is easy to head to or from Phnom Penh by speedboats and pass through Chau Doc. Aside from its river scenery and hilltop vistas, in the heart of what Cambodians consider to be Kampuchea Krom, bears many of the same war-time scars as neighboring Cambodia. During the Khmer Rouge regime, Pol Pot's forces made a number of bloody incursions along the border. In April of 1978 a massacre took place in the hamlet of Ba Chuc, some 50km southwest of Chau Doc, with over 3,000 people killed. While a memorial has been erected to the memory of those murdered.